A new year is right around the corner and it’s a great time to focus and decide what you want to manifest for the future. Growing older is inevitable, and while many fear it, we recommend setting your sights this year that you can do to age with grace. Focusing on your health is an investment in the future which will allow you to stay strong and connected for years to come.
What we’ve come to understand is that our total health is connected including mental, physical, and emotional. When we are fulfilled in life, able to stay active and clear of mind our quality of life is considered the highest. While you may want to simply focus on regular exercise, or improving your diet, this year we want to recommend and remind you of the importance of treating hearing loss.
How our Hearing Supports Us
Our ears help us communicate with one another and this is more important than we may first suspect. Humans are social creatures, and our relationships help us feel engaged and excited about life. Hearing loss is considered the third most common health condition in the US affecting people of all ages. Grossly underestimated and undertreated, hearing loss can start with issues following conversation every now and then and overtime turn into rifts in your relationships across your life, leading to lack of confidence and lowered self-esteem. As we struggle over years to follow conversations, it’s common for people with untreated hearing loss to struggle with social isolation, cognitive decline and a higher risk of falls and accidents which often lead to hospitalization.
Set Up a Hearing Appointment
Start the year off right, by scheduling a hearing exam. On average, most people go 7 to 10 years from the time they suspect they have a hearing loss to take action and schedule an exam. If you’ve suspected you have a slight hearing loss for years, in truth it could be more severe than you know. Hearing loss often progresses slowly over years and your brain often adapts and rationalizes the loss. Do you feel like some people mumble or don’t speak up loud enough? In truth, this is a common sign that you are struggling with certain tones or pitches. Everyone experiences hearing loss differently. While hearing loss can happen at any age, the risk starts to rise as we reach 50 years and beyond. By the time we reach 65 years old one in three people will struggle with hearing loss. By the time we are 75 years or older there is a 50 percent chance that you’ll have hearing loss! Stay on top of hearing loss before it becomes a larger issue.
The Importance of Treating Hearing Loss Early
Untreated hearing loss can start to create rifts in your relationships at home and at work which can be difficult to repair. At home, communication issues can cause resentment which can build up over years. For those in the workforce, an untreated hearing loss can cause you to earn less and be passed up for promotions and raises. It also increases the likelihood of unemployment. The Hearing Health Foundation reports that people with severe hearing loss have an unemployment rate (15.6%) twice that of the average hearing population (7.8%) and almost double that of their peers (8.3%) who use hearing aids.
Another major concern is cognitive decline as we age. Those with untreated hearing loss are believed to suffer higher rates of cognitive decline, increasing the risk of developing dementia exponentially depending on the degree of loss. A study from Johns Hopkins University found that a moderate hearing loss doubled the risk of developing dementia while a severe hearing loss tripled the risk. For those with a profound untreated hearing loss the risk was identified to be five times the risk.
Addressing a Hearing Loss
While hearing loss is often irreversible it can be treated. The most common treatment is hearing aids– tiny digital minicomputers which can be programmed to amplify only the specific tones and pitches you struggle with. This individualized treatment can help you feel more confident in conversation allowing you to connect to the people in your life at home and work. Over time, you can start to bridge back rifts and start to understand what connecting to those you love can mean. Start the New Year off right by investing in your hearing—a gift to yourself and those you love that you can continue to enjoy for years to come.